A spreading set of roots
Reviewed September 2010
Crown City Sessions
By The Riders
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
A year after re-issuing their impressive 2006 debut, "200 Miles From Everywhere ...", L.A. country/roots rockers The Riders are back with a sophomore release that shows a broader musical vision and the ability to switch comfortably from mellow ballads to hard-edged rockers.
The band also shows a willingness to tackle the occasional cover here. The most interesting moment on the new release might be a twangy cover of The Faces song "Ooh La La." And on a cover of Dylan's "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You" the band sounds remarkably like a cross between Little Feat and The Band.
The rest of the album (which was recorded at a now-demolished bungalow on Coronado) features songs written or co-written by lead singer/guitarist Tom Cusimano, and he shows a greater stylistic variety than on "200 Miles," all of the songs on which seemed to be at the same meter and pace.
If that first album was almost entirely in a very mellow Poco / Pure Prairie League groove, the band rocks hard on "The Minute" here, while "From Far Behind" is more blues than anything else the band has recorded. And on "Somewhere to Run" the band has another catchy, radio-friendly song in the vein of "Coalinga" from their debut.
This is still a band deeply interested and immersed in the intersection of country and rock, but their new album shows that said intersection is far broader than their first album hinted at.
Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).